A lot of factors play into an electric-vehicle's charging time, but a general rule is that the higher the on-board charger, the shorter that time will be. The on-board charger in the first-generation Nissan Leaf was 3.3 kW. The upgraded second-generation could use a 6.6 kW charger. On the new, third-edition Smart ED, there's a 22-kW charger. Today, Volvo announced a new 22-kW fast-charger for the C30 Electric that "operates on three-phase supplies and is small enough to be fitted in an electric car." Volvo says this is the world's first three-phase, on-board charger. This helps reduce the charging time to completely refill an empty pack in an average EV from eight-to-10 hours to just 90 minutes, when used with a 400-volt, three-phase outlet with 32 amps. The new charger will be tested in some C30 Electrics.

Volvo's vice president of electric propulsion systems, Lennart Stegland, said in a statement that, "We know that short recharging times and extensive operating range are a necessity for potential electric car consumers. The fast-charging unit helps cure what is known as 'range anxiety' since the car can be more easily recharged during the day. And even if you don't have enough time for a 1.5-hour charge, plugging in for just 30 minutes will give you enough power for another 80 kilometres of driving." That's not quite Tesla Model S Supercharger territory (which uses 90-kW chargers), but it is impressive.
Show full PR text
Volvo Car Corporation cuts electric car recharging time to 1.5 hours

Volvo Car Corporation is testing a new fast-charger for electric cars that cuts recharging time to an outstanding 1.5 hours. The fast-charger operates six times faster than today's on-board devices.

"We know that short recharging times and extensive operating range are a necessity for potential electric car consumers. The fast-charging unit helps cure what is known as 'range anxiety' since the car can be more easily recharged during the day. And even if you don't have enough time for a 1.5-hour charge, plugging in for just 30 minutes will give you enough power for another 80 kilometres of driving," says Lennart Stegland, Vice President Electric Propulsion Systems, Volvo Car Corporation.

World's first three-phase on-board charger

The new charger will be installed and evaluated in a number of Volvo C30 Electric cars. The new 22 kW fast-charger is the world's first charger that operates on a three-phase supply and is small enough to be fitted in an electric car. It offers the car owner two possibilities:
  • Using a three-phase outlet with 32A gives an 80 km range in 30 minutes. A full charge takes 1.5 hours.
  • Plugging into an ordinary single-phase 230 V household outlet gives a charging time of 8-10 hours, depending on the available current.
"The user can 'top up' the battery pack with electricity one or more times during the day. This means that the total daily range is significantly extended, yet with the same low operating cost compared to a car with a conventional power train," says Lennart Stegland. "Giving customers more usable hours each day means that electric cars become more viable as a commercial proposition, in both the private and public sectors."